It turns out that the magic I needed in order to embrace my journaling and other self-care rituals consistently was a kick in the pants.

Years ago, someone whose opinion I respect reflected that they didn’t believe I really loved myself.

What?  I was shell-shocked. I was already a life coach and adored helping other women learn to love themselves (shadows and all).

This cut to the core of my identity.  Was I really not walking the talk? I scanned for whether there was a kernel of truth to this.

Thankfully, this helped me discover a blind spot.

Although I was loving myself far more than I ever had in my tumultuous younger years (and more than many people ever have a chance to do), there was still a deeper level to aspire to. Where was the evidence? I had not yet committed 100% to my self-care practices.

When I KNOW there is something that helps me feel grounded and centered and peaceful and happy, why on earth wasn’t I doing it every day? I had a golden ticket to shining my brightest light in the world and loving the people in my life¬†better, but I was not consistently using it. That spoke¬†volumes about how much I am actually willing to commit to LOVING ME. ¬†

Until my daily rituals were dependent on NOTHING (except rare emergencies)…until they were no longer optional and easily shunted to the side…until they were no longer vulnerable to the whims and desires of other people in my life…until they were carved in my mind as the cornerstone of my days…I was not loving and honoring me by taking care of me.  

The proof was in the pudding. My self-love would be demonstrated in action when I gave myself permission to STILL decide to take care of me even when there were competing needs in my life. Even on the days when there were more items on my to-do list than could possibly be done in a week. It was absolutely okay to stop checking things off my list long enough to sit and meditate or journal or even take my dog for a walk in the woods.

It was not just okay…it was NECESSARY.  Because the version of me who is checking items off on that to do list Рand the version who is showing up as Ben’s mom and my brother’s sister and Kathy’s friend varies dramatically based on whether I have taken the time I need to have a peaceful heart.

I HAVE to love myself enough to KNOW that I am worthy of the time it takes to take care of me.  

I AM worthy of LOVE and commitment ‚ÄĒ even though I am not always perfect or always kind and loving or always disciplined and motivated or always patient with my child or always generous or always grateful. ¬†

The key for me to remembering that I am worthy of love and self-care is to believe that even when my Little Girl (the smaller, fear-based version of me) is in charge (and kind of making a mess of things), she is worthy of my love. ¬†She is worthy of my commitment and dedication. And especially she needs my devotion and compassion. Devotion in the form of LISTENING to her because she needs to speak (I let her pour her little heart out in my journal without censoring her). ¬†Compassion in the form of soothing her when she‚Äôs out of sorts because beating her up and telling her she’s wrong or bad when she‚Äôs already having a tough time is really kind of cruel — and is most definitely not going to make her ‚Äúbehave‚ÄĚ better. ¬†

Although I thought I loved myself completely, my actions were telling a different story; I was the first to lose out (on my practices) when time got crunched.

I NEED to put my oxygen mask on first or EVERYONE ultimately suffers.    

NO ONE outside of me can or will give me the permission to put me first.  And even if they did, unless I agreed and gave myself permission, their permission would not matter.  

On the day that this became crystal clear to me, I took a stand.  I committed to loving me no matter what.

The best way I know to honor that commitment is to choose daily self-care rituals that connect me to my wisest self.  My practices make me feel good, remind me who I really am at my core, and help me work through the hard stuff that life sometimes throws at me.

Among several self-care practices, journaling is the core.  In my journal, I hold my heart on the page.  I listen to it, I see it, I coax it out of hiding, I admire it, I applaud its courage, and I love it.

I love me. On the page.  Every. Single. Day.

Let this blog entry be YOUR kick in the pants.  Let this be the moment that YOU choose YOU.  Let this be the moment that no matter who you think you need permission from to love you and take care of you first, you choose today to give the permission to yourself.

We share the practices we use and teach in the free mini-course 5 Habits Happy People Have. Register for this free course, 5 Habits Happy People Have, here.

And if you’d like support, inspiration, and celebration while you learn how to take better care of your heart, come join us in The Playground!

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